Gaines, Thomas top senior athletes

Published 6:02 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 TOP SENIOR ATHLETES for Bainbridge High School are April Thomas and Rohan Gaines

Multi-sport athletes Rohan Gaiens and April Thomas are the 2010-2011 Bainbridge High School male and female senior athletes of the year.

Gaines, who will be attending the University of Arkansas on a football scholarship, where he will be playing for coach Bobby Petrino, and Thomas, who will be attending Albany State University on a basketball scholarship, where she will be playing for Coach Robert Skinner, are both honor roll students.

Gaines, a safety on Coach Ed Pilcher’s football team and a guard on Coach Rickey McCullough’s basketball team, was named second team All-Region 1AAAA in both sports.

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Despite missing the final two football games of the season due to injury, Gaines was third on the team in tackles with 59. Five of his tackles were for losses and he forced one quarterback hurry.

In basketball, he helped lead the Bearcats to a 27-3 record, the Region 1AAAA championship and a berth in the second round of the State Class AAAA Tournament. He led the team in assists with 48.

In track, he participated in the long jump for coach Larry Cosby’s Region 1AAAA champion Bearcats and was a member of the 4-by-100-meter really team.

He credits his parents, Maurice and Loretta Gaines, his basketball coaches Rickey McCullough and Kelvin Cochran, and Bearcats football offensive coordinator Leonard Guyton with being his role models.

“My parents and coaches always taught me that academics come first,” he said.

“My philosophy, which I learned from them, is that nothing great ever occurs without hard work and determination.”

During his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, Gaines was part of Bearcats basketball teams that posted an 81-12 record, made two State Class AAAA Final Four appearances and won three Region 1AAAA championships.

Thomas was Lady Cats leader

Thomas was a starting guard on Coach Latreisha Moon’s Lady Cats basketball team that she helped lead to a 21-7 record, a Region 1AAAA South Sub-Region championship and a berth in the second round of the State Class AAAA Tournament.

She also had a goal and an assist for Coach Chip Ariail’s Lady Cats soccer team this season. She has also been on the BHS cross country team.

Coach Moon and softball coach Singletary called Thomas a true leader.

In addition to being named All-Region 1-AAAA first team, Thomas was named honorable mention All-State by both The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Georgia Sportswriters’ Association.

She also won the team’s scoring award for averaging a team high 19.9 points a game, the three-point award for connecting on 64 percent of her three-point shots and the assist award for averaging a team high 11 per game.

Following the season, she had outstanding performances in two senior All-Star games in Albany.

Playing for the Southwest Georgia All-Stars, coached by BHS’ Moon, against the Albany Area All-Stars in the inaugural Southwest Georgia Senior Showcase at Albany State University, Thomas earned most valuable player honors.

In the fourth annual Deep South All-Star Classic at Albany’s Darton College, Thomas led the South Stars to victory over the Albany North Stars. She was the game-high scorer in both games.

In softball, Thomas, who played in the outfield, won a Bearcat Award while helping lead coach Eugene Singletary’s Lady Cats to 15 wins, tying the 2006 Lady Cats team for the most in school history.

Thomas, daughter of Sharlyn Smith and Lawrence Thomas, said her parents and coaches always taught her that academics are her top priority.